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Fedora Installer Looks To Change Its BIOS/Fake RAID Handling

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  • Fedora Installer Looks To Change Its BIOS/Fake RAID Handling

    Phoronix: Fedora Installer Looks To Change Its BIOS/Fake RAID Handling

    Red Hat engineers are working on changing their BIOS RAID "fake RAID" support within the Fedora installer for the F38 cycle...

    https://www.phoronix.com/news/Fedora...ller-BIOS-RAID

  • #2
    At least their installer has some form of support for these Fake-RAID setups. I am advocating Calamares to implement something similar for four years now, but things are progressing super slowly, if at all. That means no support for these distributions for Intel RAID setups, yes - you cannot install any distribution using Calamares on these RAID arrays in 2022. I've tried but failed.
    Last edited by ms178; 25 November 2022, 04:03 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ms178 View Post
      That means no support for these distributions for Intel RAID setups, yes - you cannot install any distribution using Calamares on these RAID arrays in 2022. I've tried but failed.
      So why not just create an array using mdadm? Is there some reason you actually need the other RAID support?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ms178 View Post
        At least their installer has some form of support for these Fake-RAID setups. I am advocating Calamares to implement something similar for four years, but things are progressing super slowly if at all. That means no support for these distributions for Intel RAID setups, yes - you cannot install any distribution using Calamares on these RAID arrays in 2022. I've tried but failed.
        That term "fake-RAID" always bugged me. There's nothing 'fake' about this. It's a cop-out term from people that want to feel superior and soothe their ego. It basically boils down to "we won't support you because we don't like it." It's dismissive. Back "in the day" when this term was coined and onboard RAID was starting to show up, this was used as a term of derision to belittle people that couldn't afford expensive dedicated hardware RAID controllers but still wanted the feature set in RAID (yes I know how they both work). This was back in the day when P-ATA/IDE still dominated consumer grade PC storage. These motherboards were aimed at the Windows enthusiast crowd. Linux drivers usually didn't exist or weren't reliable. Likewise, Linux software RAID (by the given definition, all software RAID is also 'fake', but it is impolitic with some to mention this) was becoming available and growing in features, performance and reliability, but if the user already had a RAID set managed by Windows and they needed/wanted to migrate or interoperate they were often out-of-luck on the Linux side. This was before Storage Spaces in Windows became a thing. Some hardware worked reasonably well, some didn't just like you'd expect from consumer grade hardware. Now just about all desktop and even laptop (where it makes less sense) motherboard firmware have this option.

        It would be better to engage, find out where onboard RAID makes sense in modern hardware versus the alternative software or hardware RAID systems, than just continue to dismiss the situation altogether. Engagement is what RedHat/Fedora is doing. They're engaging with customers interested in this feature set. Good for them! (I'm supporting your position, I'm just giving a little background on that 'fake-RAID' term for those that don't know where it came from.)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by stormcrow View Post

          That term "fake-RAID" always bugged me. There's nothing 'fake' about this.
          You're just misunderstanding. It's called "fake" because the RAID itself isn't really handled by hardware. Having a driver running that performs the same function as any other software raid doesn't change things.
          A lot of people get confused by those fake raid setups and think it's the same thing as an actual hardware raid controller.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by stormcrow View Post

            There's nothing 'fake' about this. It's a cop-out term from people that want to feel superior and soothe their ego. It basically boils down to "we won't support you because we don't like it." [...] Linux software RAID (by the given definition, all software RAID is also 'fake'
            Nope.
            Linux software RAID is a software solution that don't hide its nature, it's perfectly honest and transparent with the user.
            "BIOS RAID" are software raid pretending being hardware raid. So, they're fake raid.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cynic View Post
              "BIOS RAID" are software raid pretending being hardware raid. So, they're fake raid.
              "What is ‘real’? How do you define ‘real’?"(Morpheus) What even is "hardware RAID"? Where do you draw the line between raw circuitry, FPGA, and software running on a daughterboard coprocessor (usually ARM or RISCV)? Can you even tell which of the three modes your supposed "hardware" RAID runs? No?

              What really matters with regard to the Fedora-started discussion is that one type of RAID solution always appears as a single device to all operating system, and the other RAID solution is.. just inconsistent. A BIOS RAID raidset should appear as one device—but only to users of specific APIs, e.g. when DOS uses int13h. Linux does not use int13h and so gets to deal with the individual shattered pieces.

              What also appears as a single device to the OS is an iSCSI volume. Just like the raidset of a DELL PERC card. Does that mean it's hardware RAID? Could be. It could also not be. You don't know. You also don't know for the PERC. The beauty of abstractions.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by stormcrow View Post

                That term "fake-RAID" always bugged me. There's nothing 'fake' about this. It's a cop-out term from people that want to feel superior and soothe their ego. It basically boils down to "we won't support you because we don't like it." It's dismissive. Back "in the day" when this term was coined and onboard RAID was starting to show up, this was used as a term of derision to belittle people that couldn't afford expensive dedicated hardware RAID controllers but still wanted the feature set in RAID (yes I know how they both work). This was back in the day when P-ATA/IDE still dominated consumer grade PC storage. These motherboards were aimed at the Windows enthusiast crowd. Linux drivers usually didn't exist or weren't reliable. Likewise, Linux software RAID (by the given definition, all software RAID is also 'fake', but it is impolitic with some to mention this) was becoming available and growing in features, performance and reliability, but if the user already had a RAID set managed by Windows and they needed/wanted to migrate or interoperate they were often out-of-luck on the Linux side. This was before Storage Spaces in Windows became a thing. Some hardware worked reasonably well, some didn't just like you'd expect from consumer grade hardware. Now just about all desktop and even laptop (where it makes less sense) motherboard firmware have this option.

                It would be better to engage, find out where onboard RAID makes sense in modern hardware versus the alternative software or hardware RAID systems, than just continue to dismiss the situation altogether. Engagement is what RedHat/Fedora is doing. They're engaging with customers interested in this feature set. Good for them! (I'm supporting your position, I'm just giving a little background on that 'fake-RAID' term for those that don't know where it came from.)
                I encountered these regularly in low-end server setups many years ago. The migration or interoperability with Windows were non-issues there. The issue was often that you simply could not boot Linux from these BIOS-RAID setups as we called them. Not without proprietary drivers that were unsupportable. As such I would always advise clients to get a "real" RAID controller. Or in a few rare cases, setup the PATA/SATA controller in non-RAID mode and use Linux software RAID, but that is not ideal either, because a failed primary disk would still prevent the server from booting, and /boot is typically not mirrored either in those setups.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cynic View Post

                  Nope.
                  Linux software RAID is a software solution that don't hide its nature, it's perfectly honest and transparent with the user.
                  "BIOS RAID" are software raid pretending being hardware raid. So, they're fake raid.
                  Sorry, but no. There's no difference. If people actually educated yourself in how either of them worked, you'd see the term applies equally. No one (other than the ignorant) ever pretended that these on board controllers were hardware implemented RAID systems. People made assumptions based on ignorance, as usual. "Fake" was applied because there's no hardware coprocessor that handles the RAID housekeeping. Well, that's exactly what's happening with software RAID regardless of the code level.
                  Last edited by stormcrow; 25 November 2022, 01:56 PM. Reason: clarity

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by uxmkt View Post
                    "What is ‘real’? How do you define ‘real’?"(Morpheus) What even is "hardware RAID"? Where do you draw the line between raw circuitry, FPGA, and software running on a daughterboard coprocessor (usually ARM or RISCV)? .
                    If it runs on dedicated hardware then it's hardware RAID. If it runs on my CPU then it's software RAID.
                    Simple as that.

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